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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  January 14, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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i'm denise koch. >> thanks for >> couric: tonight, from haiti, a race against time to save lives. two days after, the deadly quake struck. under the beating sun, haitians search the rubble by hand for lost loved ones. fears of disease grow as bodies pile up on the streets. violence breaks out as hundreds of thousands are desperate for food and water. and the first u.s. aid starts pouring in. but there's a bottleneck at the airport. cbs news has a team of correspondents deployed throughout the earthquake zone to bring you special, expanded coverage of the disaster in haiti. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. night is falling here in port-au-prince for the third time since the earthquake devastated this country, and the desperation and danger grow by the hour. bodies piling up everywhere could lead to an outbreak of disease. gangs of looters roam the streets, and thousands upon thousands of haitians have no home, no food, no water. the haitian red cross estimates as many as 50,000 have died. it's run out of body bags. the state department confirms one american death, and president obama today announced $100 million in u.s. assistance as he addressed the people of haiti directly. >> we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken. you will not be forgotten. >> couric: the immediate problem is getting aid into this country. there's such a bottleneck at the airport, the f.a.a. has had to
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stop any more u.s. planes from entering the country. port-au-prince airport resembled a united nations meeting on a crowded tarmac. rescue teams from belgium, colombian police, a ven swrail an air force c-130 unloading medical supplies. another c-130 from brazil, the u.s. military arriving in full force. an outpouring of supplies from everywhere. >> we stand in solidarity with our neighbors to the south knowing that but for the grace of god, there we go. >> couric: now, the help must get to the three million haitians who need it. nearly every street is an obstacle course of debris and the dead. roads have become morgues. there's no electricity or running water. makeshift hospitals are overwhelmed. >> now we have about 10 or 12 doctors on. >> reporter: and how many
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patients? sphwhrt destruction is so widespread, relief agencies must prioritize who gets assistance first. the coast guard is helping with that. we flew on a plane usually used for maritime search and rescue, but today its mission is star different. >> we have the ability in this aircraft to send live pictures back to command centers and so they can get a real-time pictures too what's occurring on the ground and then we can direct resources to where it's most needed. >> couric: the images, along with their g.p.s. coordinates, will direct relief on the ground. >> gosh, what a mess, huh? >> couric: terrible, terrible. but coordinating this massive effort is still a monumental challenge. >> my heart really goes out to these folkes. i can't even imagine what it would be like to lose your family and have this much suffering around you. >> couric: fairfax, virginia's urban search and rescue is here along with teams from l.a. and miami. even the chinese are lending a hand.
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the fairfax team's first job-- the u.n. headquarters here where as many as 100 people are trapped and fired dead. after a slow, painstaking search, a miracle-- for 40 hours, i don't have, a u.n. skeeter specialist from estonia is trapped in what was once his office. he emerged, exhausted but triumphant. >> mr. joveer, are you glad to be out? >> what do you think? of course i am. >> couric: and that citybank building collapse we told you about yesterday and the injured assistant heading to a hospital in the dominican republic, crushed concrete is now mixed with scattered paperwork an eerie reminder that tuesday before 4:53 p.m., it was just another day at the office. >> all quiet on top. >> couric: while untrained port-au-prince residents were able to rescue two people overnight underneath the building, for the three employees still buried there, a
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second team from fairfax came here, hoping for another happy ending. >> it's incredible amount of devastation and an incredible amount of people that will probably lose their lives here, and the hardest part is to know how many prime that aren't going to be able to be saved. ♪ ♪ >> couric: relief workers say the first 72 hours after a disaster are critical to saving lives. that window is quickly closing as haiti moves from shock to desperation. many worry that desperation will turn into anger and anger will turn into violence. the u.n. has 3,000 peacekeeping troops to patrol the capital, but some of them are among the missing. the more than 3500 american soldiers and 2,000 marines on their way here will help secure the city. but for now, kelly cobiella tells us, gangs armed with machetes rule the streets.
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>> reporter: after a second day with no food and no sign of help, desperation is turning to violence in the city's old commercial center. crowds are entering the stores, grabbing anything they can carry. mattresses to avoid another night sleeping on concrete. with the smell of death and the stink of smoke, downtown port-au-prince now feels like a war zone. gangs with machetes rule the streets here. bodies are strewn everywhere. families are still in shock asking us over and over, "where is the help?" >> what you see, that's what we have left. we have to start from scratch right now. but i don't know if the government is prepared to do this damage here. we need a lot of help. we need a lot, i lot, a lot of help. >> reporter: this man lost his wife. this woman just found her three-year-old son. he's trapped in the debris of their home.
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and no one's come? no one's come to help? >> nobody's come. >> reporter: this woman found her loved one dead in a pile of concrete. her neighbors helped bring out the body. they have no choice now but to help themselves as best they can. >> they need water, they need this, they need that. nobody's not helping so they're trying to fend for themselves. >> reporter: thousands of bodies line the streets. volunteers are digging graves on a hillside trying to give the dead some dignity, and the living a better chance at fighting off disease. and there is no help coming from the presidential palace. the grandest symbol of downtown port-au-prince collapsed in the earthquake. along with government services. the violence we saw today was localized to the downtown area, but the longer people go without, the fear is that kind of behavior will spread. katie. >> couric: and, kelly, when you witnessed all this, did you see any evidence of police or any other law enforcement types? >> reporter: we didn't see any
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police officers in that particular area. in fact, in all of our driving around today, we only saw two police cars, and they were trying to get through traffic like we were. they weren't exactly out of their cars and helping. >> couric: all right, kelly cobiella, thank you very much for that report. no police and next to nothing in the way of medical care, and listen to this shocking news-- in the best of times, haiti has fewer than three doctors for every 10,000 people. and now, with hospitals unable to help all the inthurd, pits tells us mean are forced to find care wherever they were. >> reporter: this is what's left of the largest public hospital in port-au-prince. what used to be the front yard is now a makeshift morgue. the old courtyard at general hospital is now the trauma unit. >> no! no! >> reporter: we stopped counting patient as 300. >> dislocated shoulder and a broken arm.
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>> reporter: more than 300 stories of pain and suffering and one trauma doctor. how are you supposed to take care of hundreds of people by yourself? >> well, it's what we're trying to do right now. i'm here. >> reporter: dr. tyrone gill is from jamaica. he flew in late tuesday. how long have you been a doctor? >> seven years. >> reporter: how does this compare to anything else you've seen? >> this is like a war zone. >> reporter: with no sleep and few supplies, dr. gill has been forced to make difficult choices. by the time they bring someone here, you have to amputate? >> yeah. >> reporter: because of gangrene. >> because access is very difficult. to get here is a problem. >> reporter: slowly, trained medical personnel from around the globe are trickling into the country and doing what they can. this boston-based charity set up a triage center a couple of hours outside of port-au-prince. those who can make it here get band annuals, x-rays, and pain medication. the u.s. government sent 300 medical personnel to haiti today and has placed 12,000 more on alert for possible deployment. doctors without borders has 800
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personnel on the ground and is trying to get 80 more into the country. many haitians are trying to make it to their own border. their neighbors in the dominican republic have offered free medical assistance, and for those who can't make it to the medical help, all they can do is sit and wait and hope. port-au-prince has long been a series of shantytowns. today, with too few hospitals, too many roads like this visually impossible to pass, many of the circ the injured, the hungry are visually trapped in communities like this. but they don't complain. they improvief. at union baptist church, a local healer tried to mend a broken arm with ointment. meanwhile, the sick, the injured sing ♪ ♪ is "god will help us" the old hymn goes. many here believe it's the only help they've gotten so far. tonight we've learned doctors without borders will have an
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inflatable hospital here in 24 hours. and, katie, that means they'll be able to perform all kinds of surgery, something desperately needed here. >> couric: it sure is. you walk around the streets and you see so many people clearly in need of medical care. what disease are they most concerned about, byron? >> reporter: katie, one word, disenitary. there is so much standing water and so little drinking water, people do what they have to do to survive. unfortunately, it will make them sick. >> couric: president obama, meanwhile, says the u.s. relief effort will be one of the largest in recent history, and as david martin reports, the military is leading the way. >> reporter: by monday, there should be close to 10,000 american military personnel in haiti or on ships just offshore. but in haiti, monday must seem like forever. >> we're work at all deliberate speed to get all possible capability there as soon as we absolutely can. >> reporter: fastest way in is by air, but general fraish, the military commander of the
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operation, is handcuffed by a single runway at port-au-prince airport, which is constantly on the verge of gridlock. the air force scheduled about two dozen flights for today but some of them are still holding on the ground in the u.s. > there have been airplanes on the ramp. there have been airplanes circling overhead and there have been airplanes held back. >> reporter: 125 paratroopers from the 82nd airborne through in today, and an entire 3500-man brigade is scheduled to be on the ground this weekend to provide security, but tomorrow morning's arrival of the career "vincent" with 19 hps on board may provide the biggest break in the bottleneck. >> one of the reason we sunday the uss carl vinson in is to provide an offshore staging base where we can use helicopters and other capacity to true to move relief goods from ships to shore. >> reporter: the "vincent" also has three operating rooms and the capability to make fresh water. by sunday or monday, a
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three-ship amphibious task force with helicopters, landing craft, and 2200 marines on board, will provide another offshore base, critical to a country which lost its main port in the earthquake. >> essentially, that port has been disabled, almost destroyed, with with with respect to the ability to service large cargo ships. >> reporter: the hospital ship "comfort" with 12 operating rooms and 250 bids is about to get under way from baltimore. but it won't reach haiti for another week. more ships and helicopterez will almost certainly be sent, but time and distance are enemies the u.s. military cannot defeat. david martin, cbs news, the pentagon. >> couric: i'll be back later in the broadcast with more from haiti, and in a moment, harry smith in new york will continue our coverage. breathe right, the small strip that gives you... big nighttime breathing relief... introduces-- drum roll please-- new breathe right extra.
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♪ fiddle music charlie: vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. >> on the ground in haiti, the devastation is swrp but the scope of this disaster becomes even more clear when you look down from above, both before and after the earthquake. sandra hughes shows us. >> reporter: these google easht images are satellite pictures taken just 17 hours after the quake. what's most shocking it's comparison of port-au-prince before and after the earthquake. the worst of the damage can be seen when you compare the pictures of what the craw-shaped national cathedral looked like before the earthquake and after.
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the entire roof caved in. this is where the city's archbishop was killed. the three-story citybank building was one of the most modern in port-au-prince until the three-story building collapsed in a matter of 12 seconds. >> reporter: at university hospital, they were still trying to hospital injured and dispense medicine out in the parking lot even after the images show half the structure was demolished. official government buildings got hit hard. the presidential palace was built in 1918, a neoclassical building like the u.s. white house. the central dome and the second floor collapsed into the lower level. google earth has the images on its crisis response web page where the company is encouraging donations to earthquake relief. an aerial view of how daunting recovery will be. sandra hughes, cbs news, los angeles. >> when a big earthquake strikes, it's usually far from haiti, out in the pacific, and inside what's called the ring of fire. that's a 25,000-mile horseshoe
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of ocean trenches and volcanos, where about 90% of the world's earthquakes hit. but while what happened in haiti may be rare, ben tracy tells us scientists have long been expecting it. >> reporter: when you look at the devastation in haiti's capital city, there is no doubt that this was the big one, a quake so strong that just 10 minutes later, the seismic waves registered here in the call tech lab in pasadena, california, 3,009 miles away. >> it's unusual having big waves like that coming in. we don't see that every day. >> reporter: call tech scientists monitor seismic activity and say haiti is a very active area of the world. in fact, the caribbean islands were created by earthquakes. eight quakes of seven magnitude or greater have struck the area in the past 220 years. haiti is surrounded by two major plates that are pushing on a fault line that runs from jamaica through southern haiti. on tuesday, that fault finally
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broke, causing the two plates to slip past each other along an approximately 40-mile stretch of the earth. the ground shook so violently because the rupture was so close to the surface, within just eight miles. the seismic energy of the 7-magnitude earthquake is the same as 32,000 small atomic bombs. scientists believe the quake was so large because pressure has been building up in the fault ever since the last major earthquake hit here 240 years ago. scientists warned the island was primed for another megaquake. in fact, in 2008, the five scientists issued a paper predicting a 7.2-magnitude quake along this fault. they say the risk of another large quake still exists. >> by releasing strain on one part of the fault, you tully increase strain on adjacent parts of the fault, thereby making them more susceptible to a larger earthquake. >> reporter: the fault under haiti is the same type as the san andreas fault, the
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800-mile-long scar slicing through california. pressure has been building in the southern end near los angeles for more than 300 years. scientists say the so-called "big one" here is not a matter of if but when. now, here at the call tech lab they have the simulation of a 7.8-magnitude quake hitting count los angeles. scientists believe there's a 99.7% chance that a 6.7 or greater magnitude quake will hit southern california in the next 30 years, a sobering prediction. harry. >> been tracy, thanks. there is other news tonight. we'll have that in a the same impressive highway fuel economy you get in a mini. now, in a not-so-mini size. the all-new gmc terrain. with an epa estimated 32 miles per gallon highway. may the best car win. and you worry your pipes might leak (pipe doctor) ask your doctor about treating with vesicare. (pipe woman) then you could treat yourself
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with roadside assistance and courtesy transportation, it's the best coverage in america. >> smith: our coverage of the disaster in haiti will continue in just a bit. for the prosecutors today charged washington wizard star gilbert arains with felony gun possession. last week the n.b.a. put him on indefinite suspension for bringing four guns into the locker room last night. he could get five years in prison if convicted. the white house expects the financial industry to repay all but about $117 billion of their taxpayer bailout. today, the president asked congress to impose a tax on america's biggest banks to recover the rest. >> if these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers. >> smith: the tax needs
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congressional approval and republicans may try to block it saying the banks would pass the tax on to their customers. u.s. intelligence believes the attempt to blow an american jetliner out of the sky on christmas day may have been part of a larger plot against the united states. today, government officials told cbs news there is what they call an ongoing credible threat from the group behind the christmas attack al qaeda in yemen. they say the threat is not specific but it will mean more pat-downs at airports and more air marshalls on international flights. that unsettling news aside, a group of scientists believes the world has become a slightly safer place. because world leaders have pledged to reduce nuclear arsenals and slow climate change. so today, the bulletin of atomic scientists moved its so-called doomsday clock back one minute to six minutes to midnight. the clock symbolizes how close mankind is to is. destruction. coming up next, more from katie
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♪ tums [ male announcer ] nothing works faster than tums. >> couric: back now from port-au-prince, haiti. aid from all across the world is beginning to arrive here, but logistical problems at the airport have slowed things down to a crawl. president obama has pledged $100 million in u.s. aid, and he's reached out to former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton to help lead the u.s. relief efforts. tomorrow, an aircraft carrier, the uss "vincent" is scheduled to arrive as are the fishes of thousands of american troops. some of you will be leaving us now for local programming, but for many others, this special expanded edition of the "cbs evening news" ,,,,,,
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